What’s new at the Warch?

David Rubin

It’s here. And by now, every student on this campus has an opinion about the Warch Campus Center. Some of us spend our mornings dancing on the lovingly unpredictable tile floors, outdone only by the conservatory’s stair-top patio; one wrong step and you’ll go plummeting down into the viola studio. Others spend the morning drinking in the abundance of natural light and singing about their favorite LEED-certified dreamboat. Still others, perhaps, are currently rocking themselves to sleep on the floor of the old union, crying about chicken tender pitas and this thing they used to call “Monday” at the VR.
But even the strongest, deeply held opinions can benefit from some extra factoids. That’s why we here at The Lawrentian will, over the coming weeks, be bringing you some behind-the-scenes Warch Campus Center information. We can’t teach you how to open your mailbox, and we can’t explain the absence of clocks, but we can let you know how and why it was built, and what kind of possibilities it holds.
Most students have already experienced the Esch Studio and adjoining Hurvis Room in some capacity. Located along the southern end of the second floor, across from the convenience store, these rooms feature oodles of natural light, high ceilings and tons of space to spread out.
For RLAs, these rooms were the site of training week mayhem, including snazzy PowerPoints and pirate-themed song and dance. Others first experienced them as host to Occidental Brothers Dance Band International’s Lawrence visit.
Expect more of this kind of variety. According to Greg Griffin, director of the Warch Campus Center, “Everything in this building is still evolving.” The rooms’ future uses are still very much up in the air, open to student experimentation and dialogue. At this time however, Esch and Hurvis are particularly well equipped to serve as venues for performance and dance. Here’s why:
1. The speaker system is very, very fancy. Both rooms have a collection of built-in pendant speakers, and the Esch Studio also features large, performance-quality Danley speakers. The two rooms’ sound systems can be coordinated for larger concerts, and there are a variety of settings for all sorts of occasions.
2. That glossy, unassuming wood floor in the Esch Studio is hiding a bed of floor springs.
One of the longest-running conspiracy theories here at Lawrence is that Jill Beck is going to gut every building, starting with Downer, and turn them all into dance studios, shrines or some such. While that may not be true, the Esch Studio does provide the campus with a versatile dance space.
Roll-in mirrors and the forgiving floor make it suitable for formal training and performance. Due to these improvements, Mˆlée Dance Troupe and the Lawrence swing dancers should each find the Esch Studio sufficiently comfy.
3. The stage is conveniently low-maintenance. Wondrously modular and mobile, this stage is significantly easier to put together than the old setup in the Memorial Union. Said Greg Griffin, “I can put it up by myself in 20 minutes!” Although he is Superman, that statistic should translate to mortals as well.
In the long run, design touches like these should make Esch-Hurvis into a versatile, comfortable performance space.
Stay tuned to Student Organization for University Programming and the Band Booking Committee for upcoming big events, and in the meantime, check out that springy floor, even if it’s just to feel a little comforted while crying about that chicken tender pita.

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